UPDATE: The French Broad Food Co-op has canceled this event due to rain. There is no scheduled rain date at this time.
With chickens, tomatoes and pollinator gardens popping up in every corner — from backyards to apartment balconies to rooftops — it certainly seems Asheville is a city that is enthusiastic about urban farming and homesteading. With spring in full swing, growers, DIY enthusiasts and the homestead-curious will find the perfect venue to prepare for the season as the French Broad Food Co-op holds its third annual Urban Homestead Fair on Saturday, April 25.
The fair, held in the co-op parking lot on Biltmore Avenue, will include over 30 vendors and educators offering information and products related to permaculture, alternative energy, hops and mushroom growing, fermentation and even bread-oven building.
Bobby Sullivan, general manager at the co-op, notes that providing a space for community education is one of the “five bottom lines” that the co-op holds itself to. The fair, he says, really brings together “everyone you need to meet” for a successful urban homestead.
“In the grocery store business there’s not a whole lot of infrastructure for us to hold regular classes or do as much community outreach as we’d like,” Sullivan says. “We decided to organize the fair so we could fulfill that mission of education by bringing all the best of what we think Asheville is about right to our parking lot — that way the public can be exposed to everything from beekeeping to making soap to gardening to keeping livestock.”
Sullivan adds that this year’s fair will feature less of an emphasis on live music (to decrease noise and facilitate more conversation) but will have more activities for children, including a bounce house and crafting stations. Local growers will also be offering spring plant starts, which Sullivan says are one of the fair’s most popular assets.
“There’s a ton of activity around buying plant starts because, of course, it’s spring,” Sullivan notes. “We’re one of the most biodiverse regions in the whole U.S., and this is a really great example of the magic that Asheville has to offer. So many people who live here are experts at growing everything from fruit trees to herbs to organic crops. The people who sell this stuff are just incredible.”
The French Broad Food Co-op Urban Homestead Fair is free to attend and will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.